Paul inventing Christianity?


#1

Does anyone have any websites or sources to debunk this theory? I know Paul did a lot but saying that he invented Christianity is crazy! Also, Some argue that Christianity wouldn’t be where it is today without Paul. Do you agree with this?

Thanks as always!


#2

Walt:

In the very early days of the church, (Paul’s time and for some time thereafter) following Christ was known as The Way. Followers were known as people of The Way (or the new way). I don’t believe that the word Christian came into usage until well after the death of the apostles. You might google the words Christian and history together and explore that.

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. His contributions to the growth of Christianity were prodigious. Would Christianity be where it is today without him, maybe, but his contributions can never be dismissed or denied.


#3

Paul’s evangelization was indeed invaluable, but if Paul said “no”, Jesus would have found someone else to fulfill His will.


#4

I can’t help you other than to say that I think this claim is especially made by atheists. They have a very low opinion of Jesus and the apostles and had it not been for Paul, a real intellectual force, it would have died out in the early first or second century. It’s definitely revisionist history; and the historical record doesn’t support this. Paul is only one among several “authorities” that the ECF refer. If it was ONLY PAUL then they might be able to make a case; but it is not the case. This is where I would start; but I personally don’t know of anyone who has written on this topic.

MonFrere


#5

For the first six years of the history of the Church, Saul, as he was then known, persecuted the Church. He tried to stamp out the Church. It wasn’t until a dramatic meeting with the Lord, that he converted and became an Apostle, and changed his name to Paul.
Christianity wouldn’t be where it is today without any of the Apostles, Paul included. Paul was a great Apostle.


#6

To what extent is this guy saying that Paul “invented” Christianity? Is this guy saying that he invented the characters of the Gospel (i.e. Jesus, Mary, etc.) along with the faith?


#7

If St Paul invented Christianity then there’s no reason he would have had to listen to the other Apostles, as they wouldn’t have their authority. It’s clear even from St Paul’s Epistles that they were already very important


#8

I’ve seen Muslims make similar claims. Honestly, any proof that you give is ignored. St. Paul was the first great theologin. He did not invent it, he mearly explained it.


#9

There are a couple ‘Christians’ (I’m using the term VERY loosely) who claim Paul invented such ideas as the Eucharist, Jesus’ atonement sacrificial death (they say Jesus died ahead of us, not instead of us) and they ignore most of the Old and New Testament (Pelagianist mixed with Marcionist). The two I know of are Tim Spiess and Ed Jones. They are Anti-Trinitarian and Anti-Virgin Birth and see some crazy conspiracy within the Early Church.

J. P. Holding of Tekton Apologetics Ministries addressed Ed Jones’ Anti-Paulinism here:
A Look at (Another) Eccentric with a Paul Problem

On another another Christian forum call Theology Web was a discussion on Tim Spiess that I was the impetus for (his theology had caused me great faith problems and I had asked J. P. Holding if he could address it and so he made a thread on TWeb about it):
For NathanielS: Let’s Thrash “Jesusfamilies.org”
((NOTE: On TWeb, my name is NathanielS))

So yes, there are so-called believers in Christ who deny Paul.


#10

1 Cor 15:3-11

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

This passage has plenty to “debunk” that theory all by itself. Paul himself states that he received the gospel. He faithfully passed on what was taught to him. He mentions the Apostles to whom the Gospel was taught by Jesus, and admits that he persecuted the Church (which was already in existence before he was converted)

I am sure there is more, but this passage will take a lot of explaining.

Also, the believers were first called Christians in Antioch. It may be this did not occur until Paul was brought there to teach.

Acts 11:25-26
25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

However it is clear that the church was already in existence in Antioch before he arrived.


#11

Even if Christianity would not be the same without Paul, I think it’s safe to say Christianity would not even exist without Christ.


#12

This is totally a “non-biblical” answer. Just my own human observation. History (not just the Bible) supports the fact that, with the exception of St. John, all of the apostles/disciples (including Paul) died very torturous martyr’s deaths. I find it difficult to believe that, if this was just some story they made up, that everyone of them would have been willing to die for their lie. What would have been in it for them. They had to have known that there was some benefit (eternity with Christ) to standing up, to the death, for what they believed. Paul had a very real encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and the other apostles actually walked and talked with Jesus after he rose from the dean and before his ascension. These very real, and very personal experiences are what gave the assurance that what they were preaching was the truth, not just for the present, but for all eternity!


#13

take the I Cor 15 text quoted above and simply show in the gospels the parallel passages that teach the same thing. Any good cross reference bible will list the places in the gospels. In fact, take any major doctrine of Paul and you will find it in the gospels, like deity of Christ John 1:1, 8:58, 10:30. Personhood of Holy Spirit Acts 13:2 – note luke wrote Acts.


#14

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